Welcome back to Book Break! Today we are going on an adventure. We are
heading to Bath, to the iconic bookshop, Mr B’s Emporium. Here on Book Break, we love physical bookshops.
We love interacting with booksellers who are passionate about their jobs. And so I was
desperate to try out the Reading Spa at Mr B’s. The Reading Spa is this amazing experience
where you get a one-on-one personalised session with a bookseller, who will learn all about
your favourite types of things to read about, and then recommend you a huge tower of books!
So I’m going to go and try that out today. So I am here at the famous Mr B’s. Most famous
for having an actual bath in the middle of the bookshop, full of books. Which I just
love. It’s such a magical bookshop, in a gorgeous city. Let’s go in. So I’m here, at Mr B’s, and I’m having my
own little Reading Spa session here. So I’m here with Nic from Mr B’s. NIC: Hello, welcome. EMMA: Thank you very much. Can you tell us
what the Reading Spa is? NIC: Yes, so the Reading Spa is a gift that
kind of takes what we love doing anyway, which is talking to customers in a lot of detail
about books, and about reading, and it takes that and it makes it into something you can
gift. EMMA: I will put the link in the description
below for anyone who wants to book themselves or a friend onto that. On Book Break, we just love physical bookshops.
We love talking to booksellers. So I know why I think booksellers are so important,
but why do you think they’re so important? NIC: We’re not in denial about the benefits
and the sort of side benefits of digital. The most important thing is that people should
be reading. There’s something about being in a bookstore. Something about that kind
of pleasure of holding a book. And we see it especially with young children. The huge
joy they get once they understand the lure of a book, and being a reader. So booksellers,
when they’re doing the right thing, are kind of helping create a reading nation. You can
find books, but to discover books, and discover books that are going to be a really good match
for you, that you’re going to absolutely love, and that’s going to lead you to new avenues
of reading – well, I think you’ve got to be in a bookshop. EMMA: So let’s give it a go, shall we? Let’s
try out the Reading Spa. NIC: Reading Spa, all right. So what we normally
do in a Reading Spa. The first thing I’ll always ask people is how much their reading
breaks down between fiction and nonfiction. EMMA: So I’m a big fiction reader. I like
slow moving novels about people. But then I also love thrillers. NIC: OK EMMA: Very different. NIC: So when you talk about books where, I
might be paraphrasing, but where not much happens, or where it’s more about the people
than – Which authors do you go back to time and again? EMMA: Um, Jhumpa Lahiri. Love her. I quite
like sad, bleak books. NIC: OK EMMA: So something like Road Ends by Mary
Lawson, I love that. Or A Little Life. NIC: So it’s kind of just, the sadness is
entrenched. EMMA: Yeah NIC: Right, OK. Do you like it when a novel
transports you to a particular place or time? EMMA: Yes, definitely. And that reminds me,
I just read a Kate Morton book that was like that. Where it’s all set in one manor house,
but it’s over the span of 150 years. Love that kind of thing. NIC: Yes, Kate Morton has houses nailed down.
Houses as characters, she is the queen of. Is there a book that you go back to and read
again and again? EMMA: I’m not a big re-reader. NIC: No EMMA: In general. Because there’s just so
many books in the world that I get a bit panicky about having to read them all. But the ones
that I do reread are Jane Austen. NIC: Your favourite Jane Austen? EMMA: The hardest question. It’s like choosing
between children. NIC: OK, fine. And you’re not just saying
this because we’re in Bath? EMMA: No, no. NIC: If we were doing a full Reading Spa,
I might carry on and ask you all sorts of follow-up questions for ten minutes. But I
reckon I’ve got enough to go on. EMMA: Brilliant, very excited. NIC: All right, here we go. Got a stack for
you. EMMA: Ok, let’s see what we’ve got! NIC: OK, first of all, A Whole Life. Robert
Seethaler. This one is set in an Austrian valley, and it takes place over, maybe five,
six decades. It’s a whole life. One character. EMMA: A very short book for a whole life. NIC: Very short, but it’s so, it’s so sparse.
It’s so broken down. There’s no word out of place. What comes across is the fact that
you don’t need to travel the world to have an interesting and important life. EMMA: Wow. Sounds amazing, just my kind of
thing. NIC: This, I feel, is a sort of bedfellow
to this. So this is The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen. This is on an island. There is one family
living there, and this is subsistence living. Your narrator is the daughter of the family.
As she comes to grow up, and for her generation, will she too end up just on the island? Or
will she want more? Will she get more? Tahmima Anam, another really brilliant writer,
who transports you to a different culture. So this is set in 1971, during the Bangladeshi
war of independence. And it’s one of those novels that takes one family’s view of a moment
of great upheaval and conflict. And there’s a lot of drama in it. There’s tos and fros,
a lot of action, but also just the smell and the taste of Bangladesh. OK, I’m going to be cheeky on this one. We
have a very small publishing imprint ourselves, where when we love a book, and we want to
talk about it a lot, and then we find out it’s out of print, the most extreme way we
deal with things is we just buy the rights to it and publish it. EMMA: Great! NIC: So we have our own publishing house called
Fox, Finch and Tepper. And this is a novel, this was again a debut novel by Tim Gautreaux.
And he is one of our favourite novelists from deep South America. And this was set in the
1980s, and it’s in a very deprived town called Tiger Island. You’ve got Paul, who is a machinist.
He tinkers with boats. And you’ve got Colette, who works at the bank. And they’re kind of
like, as near as it comes to a glamour couple in this town. Which is very different from
what you’d expect. Her ambition is to do something, to see something, go other places. Paul’s
ambition is mainly to go from being a machinist to owning his own machinist business one day.
And that’s it. Now, let me show you a couple of others. This one’s called The Well by Catherine Chanter.
It’s almost dystopian, but so true to being real world that you don’t really notice. It’s
a couple, they’ve moved from London, and they’ve taken a farm somewhere down in the South West
of England. But the problem is that for the last three summers, there’s been no rain.
Except they seem to have a very verdant farm. They become the focus of a lot of attention.
And the thriller element comes as it just builds and builds up. EMMA: Mm, fascinating. NIC: So it’s very tense. Hummingbird. This is the last of my ones set
in the middle of nowhere, but with great characters. It’s so funny, this book. It’s set on a Canadian
lakeside, and it’s about a guy called Zac. And Zac has got – he’s 15 years old, and he
has some burdens, some emotional burdens that he’s carrying and trying to figure out. He
meets a girl called Ava. And Ava also has some troubles in her recent past. But it’s
so funny. I don’t know, there’s so much quirkiness to the community, it’s such a wonderful thing. I wanted to show you a memoir by an incredible
young woman. Tara Westover. And this book is called Educated. And she grew up in a community
in Idaho. Her father was a survivalist. He didn’t believe in education, so he refused
to send his children, including Tara, to school. Age 17, she for want of a better word, escapes.
She decides she’s going to get educated. And it’s an amazing book. EMMA: Wow, sounds fascinating. NIC: Yeah. It’s a memoir, but it’s so page-turning. EMMA: Thank you very much! NIC: Enough to choose from? EMMA: Yes, absolutely. NIC: And then what happens is – EMMA: How am I going to choose? NIC: I abandon people, and they have to figure
out which ones they want to take away. EMMA: Great, thank you very much! NIC: You’re welcome, I hope you enjoyed it! EMMA: Yeah, that was brilliant! So I am heading off now, with a bag full of
books. And that was such a great experience. Really proved to me that there just is nothing
that can beat a personal recommendation from a bookseller. So do give this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed
it, and comment below with your favourite bookshops, and where they give the best recommendations.
And of course, do hit that subscribe button below, because we post new videos on this
channel every Thursday. See you next time.